by Ashley Lauren McClain
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NLT
This has always been one of my favorite verses. God first said those words to His people, who were living in exile in Babylon as a punishment for turning away from Him to worship idols. He said them to give the people hope: their exile would not last forever. In seventy years, He would bring them back to their homeland. “I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back… For I know the plans I have for you…they are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
The same God who promised good to His people, even while they were in the middle of experiencing His judgment, is the God I serve. He loves His people perfectly and will never abandon us, and always has our good in mind. This thought fills me with so much hope and excitement that this big dreamer girl’s heart has taken and run with it!
But in the process of sprinting ahead, I have sometimes found myself exhausted and disappointed. Why? I believe I have finally figured out two answers to that question.
The first is in the very first words. The Lord says He knows the plans HE has for us. He is not confirming the plan we have for ourselves. Nor are His intentions determined by the expectations others have on us. God’s plans are exceedingly and abundantly greater than anything we could dream up for ourselves.
Again, my big dreamer hearts loves this…but there is a second caveat. God also has His own time table for when He will bring those plans to fruition. His timing is perfect, which means often we find ourselves impatiently waiting for Him to act.
Not yet. Those two words are the source of so much struggle and angst in my life! Not yet. After getting myself in line with His agenda, finally being willing to lay down my plans and go with His, the only thing I hear is Not Yet. Seriously?
But when I finally decide to end the personal pity party, I remember that He most often works through a process, a much-needed process, which will grow our faith and bring us to maturity.
And if we can walk with Him in the midst of that process, we can find peace.
Peace in the process also comes from understanding that there is no title, job, or calling that will define us. The Lord alone defines us. Our greatest joy and highest calling in our lives is to follow Christ and share His love with others. I need to come to a place where I desire His name to be known more than mine.
I have learned that if I will determine to trust Him for my life, even though it may look totally different than what I thought it would be… I can have peace knowing it will be so much more fulfilling and better than anything I could have dreamed of for myself.
As you begin your day today, join me in laying down those unrealistic expectations. Rather than striving and chasing, concentrate on walking with Him, and truly live the peace-filled, abundant life that He has planned.
About the author: Ashley McClain is a girl with big dreams and a blog to encourage women in their journey through this life we have been given by the greatest Gift Giver there is! She loves to read, write, drink coffee, and spend time with the hubby & puppies! Connect with Ashley on her website ashleymcclain.org. She would love to hear about your journey too!
Join the conversation: Can you recall a time when you experienced peace in the process? Please share!